Forward Line Four: Ivan Barbashev–Oskar Sundqvist–Jacob De La Rose
Ivan Barbashev and Oskar Sundqvist have been mainstays on this fourth line all season – and they do a great job. Sundqvist has posted 23 points and Barbashev has posted 26 points. They play a solid game and I could not ask much more from the fourth line.
Things get kind of hairy on that right-wing slot though. Mackenzie MacEachern has more time on the ice this season for the Blues, but I believe that Jacob de La Rose will get the initial nod for a couple of reasons.
First, the playoffs are a different animal than the regular season. It is significantly more physical, and De La Rose plays on a different physical level than MacEachern does.
De La Rose is thicker at 6-3, 215 lbs and he tallied 88 hits to MacEachern’s 82 in 17 fewer games.
The second reason I think he wins the spot is that Craig Berube is the head coach.
He is going to opt for the guy who will give him the most physicality on a fourth line that already has some scoring talent (relative to the fourth line). De La rose may not start every game, but I think he will get a solid chunk of time to prove he belongs on the fourth line.
Some people might want to slot Steen into this line and that would make sense given how good he was there during last year’s postseason. However, de La Rose doesn’t fit with the third line as well, so Steen gets put further up.